Reflections on Lisa Spangler’s Nature Spot Challenge

I previously profiled the palette of Lisa Spangler (@sideoats on Instagram), a watercolor artist based in Austin, Texas who pioneered the concept of “nature spots,” swatches of colors in the natural world. Nature spots can be less intimidating to paint than full scenes, especially if you’re on the go, but can be a great way … Read more

Building Community

I started this blog without having any idea of whether anyone would read it. It was a place for me to gather my own thoughts and organize an increasingly unwieldy amount of notes I was taking in Google Drive about watercolor technique, supplies, tips & tricks. I’ve really enjoyed actually getting comments and “meeting” you … Read more

Neon Palette II

A few months ago, I presented the Neon Palette, a set of 14 colors that I grouped into an Art Toolkit Pocket Palette that were the brightest ones I owned. I wasn’t totally happy with that palette, feeling that it could be more balanced; it contained some redundancy, a lack of useful dark values, and at the same time a few not-so-bright brights that dragged the average down. Can I do better?

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Loved & Learned from Kolbie Blume’s Intermediate Landscape Course Module 1: Light

After two years of painting, I am finally beginning to allow myself to think of myself as intermediate rather than a beginner, and accordingly I am working through Kolbie Blume’s Intermediate Landscapes course. (I actually started it before I did the beginner course!)

A four-module course, the first module concerned light, layers, and contrast. The paintings in this module involved planning multiple layers, making decisions about value contrast, and capturing light effects like glow, shadow, and backlighting.

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The Winter Palette

Here in the northern hemisphere, it’s January, the bleak midwinter. After doing a summer palette and an autumn palette, it’s time to for me to do a Winter Palette!

I was initially tempted to include lots of dark, muted colors, but in gathering inspo photos, and in paying attention to my favorite real-life sights of winter, I have noticed so more bright colors than I would have expected! Sure, the trees are bare and the grass is dry, but there is color if you know where to look. Winter sunsets are explosively bold with fiery corals, pop oranges, and deep lilacs. On sunny days, winter golden hour is more intensely gold than at any other time of year. Snowy landscapes are bright with fresh, clear blues and gentle violets.

Let’s break down the colors I chose, and why I chose each one.

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Color Spotlight: Neutral Tint

Daniel Smith – Neutral Tint

Neutral Tint is a transparent gray (black in masstone) that is specifically designed to be neutral: not warm, not cool, not leaning toward any other color.

Typically, Neutral Tint is made from a mix of three pigments: PBk6 (Lamp Black), PV19 (any number of quinacridone magenta/pink/rose/purple/crimson shades), and PB15 (Phthalo Blue of some sort).

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Watercolor Doodling!

I’ve always been a big doodler, usually with pencil or pen. As a student, I was always doodling in my notebook during class in order to have something to do with my hands, which allowed me to focus on what the teacher was saying. (Whenever teachers used to say “Stop drawing and pay attention!” I … Read more